Friday, September 26, 2008

A Tidal Wave Of...Jubilation.

The east coast of Wisconsin became awash in a tidal wave on Wednesday morning, when the waters of Lake Michigan were stirred up by a mysterious force, rushing from east to west.

After calm was restored, and the local news wires were checked, the source of the great disturbance was revealed.

Plate tectonics beneath the Great Lakes? The Loch Ness Monster taking to fresh water? No. Something much bigger.

The firing of Detroit Lions President and CEO Matt Millen was officially announced on Wednesday, and one can only assume that everybody (even those who don't know or care jack squat about professional football) in Michigan was jumping up and down with pure, unadulterated glee.

I tried to counter the effects by doing some stomping and hooting and hollering of my own, but the efforts of the few (I think there are four of us Lions fans in Wisconsin; we get together often during the season, as a sort of support group) cannot defeat the efforts of the many.

Yes, after seven-plus years of futility, botched draft picks, multi-million-dollar contract extensions and the unfailing support of a clueless Ford family, Millen was sent packing...finally. It's been a long, hard road. And I have no illusions that the Lions will suddenly begin a straight and steadfast march to the Super Bowl with their game against the Bears after the bye week.

But it's a change that had to be made. That so many were waiting for, for so long.

Millen had a 31-84 record during his tenure with the team...the lowliest record of any franchise in the league, by at least 10 games. His resignation had been called for by masses of fans in previous years, but he was always quoted as saying, "I'll never quit. When things are going bad, that just means it's time to hunker down and work harder."

(I don't really know if he used the word "hunker." But he seems like the type of buffoon who would. So I used a little creative license there.)

Millen's wife broke the story to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, saying that in the world's view, this may look like a failure, but that they've got a lot of eternal blessings, yadda yadda yadda. And then she added, "I told him, 'You're out of football prison now,' and we have a greater purpose." (I bet she earned a lot of new friends with that line.)

Out of football prison? Is she for real?? He was the fucking warden...all he had to do was turn in his keys and go...the fuck...home!

Guess he was too busy hunkering to realize that simple point.

The rumors were flying for a few days before it became official, and Lions Vice Chairman Bill Ford Jr. spurred on the decision by stating publicly that if he was in charge, he'd fire Millen. Two days later...he was out.

I found out through a Twitter update on my phone, and I think I read those couple dozen words a couple dozen times. Yes, I know I still cheer for a spectacularly suck-tastic football team, but my season improved so dramatically this week that even if they go 0-16 (which...would anyone bet against that?), there will still be one gigantic Millen-less silver lining at the end.

I got home on Wednesday afternoon and checked my e-mail, and I had one with a subject line of, "Congrats." Another read, "Finally." And still one more said, "I'm sure you know already." So even though my buddies are smart enough to cheer for better football teams, some of them felt my pain over the years (and certainly listened to me cry in my beer more than a few times) and were kind enough to send words of encouragement and links to stories in my direction.

So where do we go from here? (I use the word "we" because we tortured souls have to stick together.) Who knows? Whoever replaces Millen will be under almost the same scrutiny as Aaron Rodgers is for replacing Brett Favre. ( a bassackwards kind of way.)

Good riddance...

"You can tell people the truth
and everyone thinks you're lying,
and you can lie and everyone
thinks you're telling the truth."
—Matt Millen